Everyone knows that UV rays cause sunburns, but did you know that UV exposure damages your eye tissue as well?
Long-term damage goes beyond crow's feet from squinting in the bright sunlight. Years of unprotected exposure to the sun can result in increased chances of cataracts, damage to the retina, macular degeneration, cancer of the eye itself and cancer of the eyelid. Pterygium, a recurring condition where the conjunctiva grows over the cornea to restrict vision, requires repeated surgeries to keep in check is also common.
To stay safe, find a pair of sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Darker lenses or more expensive styles do not always translate to better UV protection. When possible, choose wrap-around styles that do not let light in from the side. Sunglasses are not just for summertime or bright days -- UV damage can occur year-round and can be especially bad during the wintertime when sunlight reflects off of ice and snow.
Any pair of sunglasses is better than wearing none at all, but not all sunglasses provide the same degree of protection to the eye. Ask your eye care provider for recommendations to fit your lifestyle and your budget.